Convoy battles


Outward, northbound, slow (North Atlantic)

26 Dec 1942 - 30 Dec 1942

The Convoy45 ships
First sightingOn 26 Dec 1942 by U-664
EscortsThe Canadian escort group C1 consisting of the destroyer St-Laurent (Cdr Windeyer) and the 5 corvettes Battleford, Chilliwack, Kenogami, Napanee and Shediac.

In the convoy is the rescue ship Toward, equipped with HF/DF.


The wolfpack Spitz of 10 boats U-123 (Oblt Von Schroeter) *, U-203 (KptLt Kottmann) *, U-225 (Oblt LeimKuhler) *, U-260 (KptLt Purkhold) *, U-356 (Cdr Ruppelt) *, U-406 (KptLt Dieterichs) *, U-440 (Oblt Geissler), U-659 (KptLt Stock), U-662 (Cdr Hermann) *, U-664 (Oblt Graef) *

The wolfpack Ungestum of 9 boats: U-336 (Oblt Hunger) *, U-373 (KptLt Loeser), U-409 (Oblt Massmann), U-435 (KptLt Strelow) *, U-441 (KptLt Hartmann) *, U-455 (KptLt Scheibe), U-591 (KptLt Zetzsche) *, U-615 (KptLt Kapitzky) *, U-628 (Oblt Hasenschar) *

* U-boats that fired torpedo or used the deck gun

The battle

After the first sighting, the groups Spitz and Ungestum are immediately deployed against the convoy. In the night U-356 makes 2 attacks and torpedoes 4 ships, of which 3 sink and the other one is finished off by U-441. U-441 misses the St-Laurent and the convoy. U-356 is sunk after her second attack by the St-Laurent, Napanee, Chilliwack and Battleford.

Contact is lost but regained by U-225 in the afternoon of the 27th. The boat attacks during the night and damages one ship, Scottish Heather, that successfully made it back to Scotland.

U-260 makes contact with the convoy in the morning of the 28th and brings up 12 boats : U-123, U-203, U-225, U-406, U-440, U-662 and U-664 from the Sptitz group and U-336, U-435, U-591, U-615 and U-628 from the Ungestum group.

As soon as darkness falls, the boats attack, sometimes more than once. In 3 hrs time they sink 9 ships: First U-435 and U-203 miss, then U-591 torpedoes one ship that is finished of later in the day by U-435. U-225 sinks one and damages one, which U-662 finishes off. U-260 sinks one and U-203 misses again. U-406 torpedoes 3 ships of which none sinks immediately, but they are sunk by by U-123, U-628 and U-591.

At midnight U-225 torpedoes two ships, one is later again torpedoed by U-336 but needs a third torpedo from U-225 again. U-225 takes the captain prisoner. The other ship (the ship of the convoy commodore) is also torpedoed twice, by U-123 first and then U-435, before finally sinking.

Further attacks by U-203, U-435, U-628, U-664 and again U-628 against the escort and convoy fail.

On daylight of the 30th the escort is reinforced by the 2 British destroyers Milne and Meteor. U-260, U-591 and U-435 are driven off. Only U-435 manages to sink ship previously damaged by U-591 in a daylight submerged attack.

The auxiliary vessel Fidelity was attacked several times by U-225 and U-615 but the ships escapes thanks in part to her torpedo nets. U-435 finally sinks her in the afternoon of the 30th. U-455 keeps in touch with the convoy until night, but does not bring up any more boats to attack the convoy.

Article compiled by Tom Linclau

Ships hit from convoy ONS-154

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat.Map
27 Dec 1942U-356Günther Ruppelt Empire Union5,952brA
27 Dec 1942U-356Günther Ruppelt Melrose Abbey2,473brB
27 Dec 1942U-356Günther Ruppelt Soekaboemi (d.)7,051nlC
27 Dec 1942U-356Günther Ruppelt King Edward5,224brD
27 Dec 1942U-441Klaus Hartmann Soekaboemi7,051nlE
27 Dec 1942U-225Wolfgang Leimkühler Scottish Heather (d.)7,087brF
28 Dec 1942U-591Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche Norse King (d.)5,701nwG
28 Dec 1942U-225Wolfgang Leimkühler Melmore Head5,273brH
28 Dec 1942U-225Wolfgang Leimkühler Ville de Rouen (d.)5,598brI
28 Dec 1942U-260Hubertus Purkhold Empire Wagtail4,893brJ
28 Dec 1942U-406Horst Dieterichs Baron Cochrane (d.)3,385brK
28 Dec 1942U-406Horst Dieterichs Lynton Grange (d.)5,029brL
28 Dec 1942U-406Horst Dieterichs Zarian (d.)4,871brM
28 Dec 1942U-225Wolfgang Leimkühler President Francqui (d.)4,919beN
28 Dec 1942U-225Wolfgang Leimkühler Empire Shackleton (d.)7,068brO
29 Dec 1942U-591Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche Zarian4,871brP
29 Dec 1942U-123Horst von Schroeter Baron Cochrane3,385brQ
29 Dec 1942U-628Heinrich Hasenschar Lynton Grange5,029brR
29 Dec 1942U-662Wolfgang Hermann Ville de Rouen5,598brS
29 Dec 1942U-123Horst von Schroeter Empire Shackleton (d.)7,068brT
29 Dec 1942U-435Siegfried Strelow Empire Shackleton7,068brU
29 Dec 1942U-336Hans Hunger President Francqui4,919beV
29 Dec 1942U-435Siegfried Strelow Norse King5,701nwW
30 Dec 1942U-435Siegfried Strelow HMS Fidelity (D 57)2,456brX
30 Dec 1942U-435Siegfried Strelow HMS LCV-752 [Trans.]10brY
30 Dec 1942U-435Siegfried Strelow HMS LCV-754 [Trans.]10brZ

16 ships sunk (69,913 tons) and 10 ships damaged (57,777 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.
(d.) means the ship was damaged.
[Trans.] indicates the vessel was lost while being transported on another vessel.

19 convoys on route ONS were hit by U-boats in the war. Read more about them.

Media links

The Fighting Commodores

Burn, Alan

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